Women’s bodies and Men’s Honour
Supporting Middle eastern migrant women who have experienced honour
Supervisor: Alma Persson, Gender Studies, LiU
Gender Studies – Intersectionality and Change
Master’s thesis 30 ECTS credits
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This thesis is a study of gender and honour, focusing on NGO’s who work to support women in Sweden who have escaped honour violence. The purpose of this thesis is to find out and explain how they make sense of honour and more specifically, to investigate how does Swedish authorities can help the Middle Eastern women who are victims under this tradition.
My focus through this thesis will be on the data analysis, moreover, using intersectionality as an analytical tool will help to explain the intersections which lead to the honour killings.
The results show that the honour violence still exists in the Swedish society as well as the Middle East, in addition, some Middle Eastern people who moved to Sweden still believe and practice the honour culture in the Swedish society. More than that, I got the answers for all the research questions which helped me to clarify the relation between honour and its intersections which helped me to know the reasons why does the Honour violence/killings can happen. The answers agree that the honour violence is connected to the shame and guilt cultures. The meaning of honour is different in different cultures. Most of the honour related cases have women as victims. The honour has many intersections, most of them related to virginity, homosexuality, out marriage relations and rape. The Swedish organisations offer help for the victims of honour.
More than that, reading my thesis will give the reader the understanding of the phenomena of Honour, its intersections and how it does exist in the Middle Eastern culture and its old traditions.
Honour, women’s rights, Intersectionality, Guilt culture, Shame Culture, gender difference, feminism, inequality, Middle East.
Finally, the work is ready for you to read. This thesis is part of me, I put my thoughts on papers, developed the thoughts with a brain storm in one of the lectures in the face to face week in Linköping university. I developed it to a plan. The plan started from day one with a positive energy, effort and fighting for women rights, gender equality and hoping for a change. It is with me wherever I go, I discussed stories with people who I never met before, I shared my own stories with my classmates, it became a daily conversation between me and myself. Now I am adding the last words in it, to see it in its final look.
I wrote this thesis being proud of what I did during the last years, being proud of myself and who I am. After leaving the desert, and running away to the nature, where I found peace and hope, at that day, I promised myself to fight for all Arabic women, to fight for equality, to support all female teenagers as adults who run away from the honour tradition, and want to free their bodies and souls from the dust. But now, I would like to thank myself first for the hard work I did, and without mentioning names, I would like to thank those who supported me in my hard and my stressful times and worries while writing this thesis.
Furthermore, the Master´s programme of Gender studies intersectionality and change has helped me to develop myself as a person, to inspire others and it has also motivated me in helping others differently. I would like to thank my classmates who taught me that sharing knowledge by reading each other’s work can help in organising the work in its best way.
I would like to thank the interviewees who trusted me by sharing their knowledge with me, who also helped me to get the data for my thesis, my teachers who inspired me and all those who supported me with their positive words.
A special “Thank You” to my supervisor Alma who pushed me to organise this work, for her inspiration and for her serious focused work with me. I have enjoyed every minute writing and editing this thesis.
To my mother’s and father’s souls who wanted me to be educated! Here, I made it! To all females who struggle in the circle of the old traditions, stand up for your rights!
Sweden, July 2017
5 Contents Copyright ... 2 Abstract ... 3 Acknowledgements ... 4 1 Introduction ... 7 1:1Thesis structure ... 8
1:2Aim and Research questions ... 8
1:3 Background: Migrants history with the honour crimes in Sweden and the policy ... 9
2 Methodology ... 12
2:1 My writings as a feminist technique ... 12
2:2 Situating myself... 13
2:2:1My Background ... 15
2:3 The Interviews ... 16
2:3:1Participants ... 18
2:3:1:1The participants work ... 20
2:3:1:2 The participant’s emotions ... 20
2:3:2 The process of the interviews ... 21
2:3:3 Analytical process ... 21
2:3:4 Sharing knowledge ... 22
2:4 Ethics ... 22
3 Feminist research perspectives on honour related violence ... 25
3:1 The intersections of honour ... 27
3:1:1 Outside marriage Relations ... 27
3:1:2 Virginity ... 29
3:1:3 Rape... 31
3:1:4 Homosexuality ... 33
4 Under the theoretical lens ... 38
4.1 Intersectionality as a base ... 38
5 The Results ... 41
5:1 Understanding the concept of honour ... 41
5:2 Stories of honour killings in Sweden ... 44
5:2:1 The otherness/embodiment ... 47
5:3 Understanding the shame and guilt culture and the relation between gender and honour violence ... 50
6 Concluding discussion ... 59
6:1 The results from the interviews ... 59
6:2:1 Is the Middle Eastern Culture Masculine? ... 60
6:2:2The power of men ... 65
6:3 Gender differences, inequality and sharia Law in Middle East ... 66
6:4 Killjoy stories ... 69
6:5 Aiming for the change ... 70
6:6Further studies and suggestions ... 73
References ... 74
Literature ... 74
7 1 Introduction
When I read the Swedish news on social media that a girl who lived in the same city that I live in was killed by her father and brother, I heard the echo of my mother’s voice in my ears again telling me: “Do not fall in love, love is not accepted, your father will kill you using the sharpest knife in the bath tub”. I was young, and all I knew that Love was not allowed. The thought grew up with me, I became a teenager, my feelings started to change, I had the first boyfriend in secret, I did not want to be killed, I felt the love, it was beautiful, I was wondering why it is forbidden? And why is Love allowed for the male but not the female? I did not think that the word Love refers to sex, and even so, why was the natural thing is forbidden? I grew up together with the fear of Love, I got married at the age of 17, however, his and my family, were waiting to see the white towel with the blood drops, my virginity, and their honour. I also heard my mother´s voice repeating the same sentence in my ears “this is your father´s and Husband`s honour, I will be waiting to see the blood on the towel”, I was shaking, afraid when I took the small towel, I was asking myself, what is honour and why my mother was scaring me? The drops of the honour did not come. However, I spent years in that marriage, I was fighting for my rights, but they were pressing me down as I am nothing, all that I was hearing, you are a woman, you can´t do that, you cannot wear this, you cannot study that, but I was asking myself why were they deciding for me? Before her death, my mother asked me to run away from the masculine society, she asked me to leave the old traditions behind, and find my freedom. I run away, I left everything behind searching for my freedom, fighting for my rights and supporting the Arabic women rights, I run away from what they call “honour”.
She ran away, she left three parts of her heart there in the desert. She could not do anything but run away. Leaving the past, believing that the karma will return to the evil man. She fought for her rights for several years, but she ran away when she lost her breath in his dirty hands.
Moreover, I chose to write about the phenomena of honour violence because it is an important issue to raise. Understanding the reasons which cause honour violence can save a human being’s life, it also can help to stop the honour violence, I find it important to discuss its intersections.
It is also important to feel the struggles of the women victims of honour violence, and why they were silent. The reasons above led me to write about this tough topic.
More than that, to understand the meaning of honour, it is important to go back to the old traditions in the different cultures and examine the meaning of honour through the past years. Honour killings and intersectionality are linked together. In this thesis, I will explain the meaning of honour and its intersections through the interviews with activists who work in different organisations which support women who escaped because of honour violence. Moreover, the activists who I have interviewed for
this thesis agree that still there are honour cases in the Swedish society, and the honour is connected to the guilt and shame which in their meaning differs from the Swedish contest.
Before, I start writing more I found it important to outline the thesis structure to guide the reader through the chapters in this thesis. In this paper, I will first write my objective and the research questions, followed by with the theories and methods that I am going to use.
The methods in this thesis are used as a technique and a tool as the interviews, while the methodology is where I am going to examine the thesis data with the theories. “Thinking methodologically involves describing and analysing the methods used, evaluating their value” (Letherby 2005).
After that, I will explain the meaning of honour, and the intersections of honour. Moreover, I will present the interviewees, and the analyses of this thesis. To make this work theoretically correct, I support my examples with theories and use the methods as tools.
In the end, the results will outline the answers to the research questions, and will also contain the achievements of the research. More than that, I will suggest in the end further research.
1:2Aim and Research questions
The aim of my Master thesis is to analyse the interviews which are the data for this thesis. This aim is attended to by interviewing the activists of Swedish NGOs working with women exposed to honour violence, through that I aim to reach an understanding of the meaning of Honour and its intersections. I also aim to understand the connection between Gender, guilt, shame, and honour.
The study will try to give the understanding of how the Swedish NGOs work with honour related problems and how they help the victims of honour violence in Sweden. The study includes a discussion of the Middle Eastern old traditions and the importance of Guilt/ shame concepts in the Arabic culture. In this Thesis, I attempt to analyse the interviews with a feminist lens. The feminist perspectives will help me find out how gender matters in honour cases. It also will help me to understand how the culture differs in understanding equality, gender and the meaning of honour.
From previous aim, I concluded the research questions:
1. How do the interviewees understand the concept of “honour”?
2. How do the interviewees describe the relation between gender and honour violence?
3. How do the interviewees work with women who have experienced honour violence in order to support and help them?
The reason that I found my case study matters is that finding the reason of Honour crimes can help to save humans life.
I have chosen to interview people who work with those women, who helped them and know their stories. The six interviewees are working in different organizations in different cities in Sweden. The organisations where the interviewees work have the same job, there they help women who run away rejecting the honour. More than that, I will compare the analysis to my personal experience on honour. Answering the research questions will make clear the meaning of honour and how it is connected to other intersections of Middle Eastern women´s lives. Furthermore, the answers will lead us to know how the victims get help in Sweden.
1:3 Background: Migrants history with the honour crimes in Sweden and the policy
Girls were murdered by their fathers, brothers, and cousins because of the honour in the Swedish society in the 20th century. The news talked about the murders, trying to analyse the crimes, which made the concept of honour more important to understand. From the beginning, the “Swedish authorities concluded that violence against women is universal-that culturally determined violence does not exist and consequently honor killings do not exist” (Wikan 2008). After the 15th of December 1996, the date of Sara´s death who died because of honour, the Kurdish Fadime talked in the Swedish parliament and introduced the meaning of the honour killings which was an important concept for her to introduce to the Swedish authorities.
“According to the historian, Lindstedt Cronberg (2008), it is clear that honour and glory emerged as core values in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and she argues that we cannot begin to understand people of the past if we ignore the aspects of honour in their lives.” (Darvishpour & Lahdenperä 2017). Following that, and in the 20th century, the number of honour crimes have been increased and known in the Swedish society.
After the murders of the Kurdish girls, Pela Atroshi who was killed by her father in June 1999 following the murder of Sara Abed Ali who was killed by her brother and cousin in December 1999, Fadime Sahindal wanted to publicize the meaning of honour violence by introducing her story to the Swedish parliament in 2002. That made the government and the Swedish police questioning the reason of honour. At that time, Fadime was afraid to be killed by her younger brother and father. The reason for that it might be strange for the European ears, but sadly it does exist in the Middle Eastern culture. The reason of Fadime’s fear was that she lived with her Swedish boyfriend, the person she loved and tried to
continue her life with. To live with a person without getting married or with a person who does not share the same religion is not acceptable in the Middle Eastern culture.
The time was short, Fadime Sahindal wanted to raise her voice, not only to the Swedish government but for all the world; she thought that she would raise the understanding of honour violence against migrant young women in Sweden, explaining the patriarchal cultural tradition by telling her story. Fadime wanted to live like the other girls in the Swedish society with the person she loved but the time was short, her voice reached the world after January 2002, since then, she was killed by her father, who believed that the honour will be washed when he kills his daughter who brought the shame to his family.
After Fadime’s death, the Swedish government started to learn more about honour, the police, women support and the activists who support women rights are working hard to reach the understanding of the honour supporting the women who need help. The Swedish people also started to question why the honour happens and how the migrant women struggle in their patriarchal cultural tradition, where the men decide over them and where the violence happens.
Now, the women who need support, those who are trying to reach peace and continue their lives far away from the honour storms, are getting help in the Swedish society. (Darvishpour & Lahdenperä 2017)
By then, Sweden arranged conferences about honour and educations about other cultures, thus, the Swedish authorities were trying to understand the honour phenomena and why they happened.
The Swedish courts have judged different cases of honour violence; one of them was Fadime’s case and the latest case is in the court now while I am writing this paper. However, in the latest murder that happened in northern Sweden, the killers, the brothers and their friends, killed a man who was in a relationship with their sister. Their case was still open when I started my thesis, but the court announced the judgment lately in July 2017.
There is no specific policy for honour violence but it is mentioned in the policy of violence against women which contains the honour violence and violence in near relations while Middle Eastern women who move to Sweden do not have the same rights in their countries, where the man has the power. He also has the right to force her sexually, thus, refusing sex in marriage is forbidden in the Middle Eastern tradition and law, each woman must obey her husband and treat him perfectly. As a Middle Eastern woman, myself, I personally faced violence in Jordan, where no one could help me. It was difficult not to get any support from the Jordanian authorities, because the husbands then had the right to have power on their wives. Violence in Sweden can be described differently than the Middle Eastern countries, men
cannot force their women into bed, but there by the sharia law, a woman would be guilty if she refused her husband. The other point is that shouting at the wife, ordering her to do things, hitting her in the face and forcing her to cover her hair or to change her dress code are normal things in Jordan. For example, women follow what their husbands decide, but when it comes to Sweden all the points that I mentioned are violence, moreover, the husband can be judged by the court for doing such actions.
The Swedish Authority has an action plan which can stop men’s violence against women. The Swedish government put plans and studying how to stop the violence against women which the honour violence part of it, or an intersection which is one part of the violence. The plan which was written in the Swedish government is the base which will help to limit of the honour violence against women which became a big problem in the last years in Sweden. This problem of honour violence against women is evident in the Swedish society the statistics below which are taken from the action plan of the Swedish government shows the numbers of girls and woman who were under honour violence and the percentage of woman who needed a hidden place to live in:
In 2004, the Swedish country Councils (Länsstyrelserna) estimated that between 1500- 2000 young women were exposed to honour related violence and between 10 and 15 percent of the young women needed hidden addresses, where no one can find them. They added, that the general idea of the honour is to control the young women´s sexuality as a main issue. (Reinfeldt &Sabuni 2007). The Swedish government agrees that the violence against women is a problematic issue in the Swedish society. According to the plan action of the Swedish government the honour violence on women is linked to the women sexuality and to the control of girls in some families and their culture.
From that, Middle Eastern women who died in Sweden under the code of honour, were judged by their families, because of their sexuality and the loss of the family control. Example of that are Fadime, Pella and many girls who were killed under the honour and because of their family’s patriarchal cultural tradition. Furthermore, in 2007, the National Knowledge Center for Women's Violence at Women in Uppsala University started a national health care program for victims of sexual offences to educate people who can help in the future the victims of the sexual violence and improve their health. (ibid)
Summarising, the honour related violence exists in the Swedish society; the government put the action plan which proposes to limit honour related violence in Sweden which increased in the last years and different educations about honour in different fields are taking place in Sweden to educate the teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors, and policemen to understand the meaning of honour, cultural differences and the traditions that support honour.
12 2 Methodology
In this section, I am going to introduce the methods I use, I will also describe why did I choose to write with the feminist technique, I will also write about my background, and why is it important for me to situate myself. More than that, I will explain why I chose the data as a method, following it by the data analysis and the ethics for this paper.
2:1 My writings as a feminist technique
“I have been working to change the way I speak and write, to incorporate in the manner of telling a sense of place, of not just who I am in the present but where I am coming from, the multiple voices within me . . . I refer to that personal struggle to name that location from which I come to voice—that space of theorising.” (hooks 1990:146) My writing style was developed through the last two years of my studying. My background in the academia was more theoretical, I have followed the standard style, which was selected by the universities I studied in. Both universities had the rules, it was boring to fill up the papers with words. I wanted to write more, express my feelings, use my senses and catch the readers eye, I wanted to create my own way of writing. However, using the theories through sharing my experiences was impossible, I kept writing following the teacher’s rules and not using my writing style. “Writing is an inevitable part of academic work” (Lykke 2014) I followed the rules just to graduate but not to be creative. Furthermore, when I started in the Master´s program in Gender studies, I was afraid to write freely. After reading the intensive and the extensive readings for the first course, which were different, were inspired and caught my eyes. After the first meeting with our teacher, who was relaxed during the online lecture, I said to myself that it seems that I chose the right course, the students and the teacher were “relaxed”. But what is relaxed? I was happy for that, I also became more relaxed expanding my writings, and I was excited to meet the relaxed people on online lectures.
However, after writing the first RD and the first assignment in Gender studies, I found out that the student who uses the feminist perspectives can use their way of writings. I was happy, started to write, I wrote every word using my five senses, the smell of the flowers, the fresh air, the positive and negative situations gave me the energy to write, I have used every moment during my studying period in my writings. Using the five senses brought up the energy to my writing process.
According to Lykke, “most people within the academic professions will probably admit, the writing process can be very painful at times as well as immensely pleasurable and fun” (Lykke 2014). Comparing my new writing style to what I used to write before, on the other hand, I can see that I have developed my way of writings into the feminist writing style which is more simple and near to the reader's ears, on the other hand before I started y studies on Gender studies, the writing period was
painful, it was difficult to write an essay with limited ideas and thoughts, but now, I am used to the writing and I find it as a fun moment. Also, and in addition to this, writing real examples can help the writer to find the main point that he is searching for, according to Lykke, an “example of how exploring an unﬁnished collection of thoughts, inspirations and references in the shape of writing a story about/around them can provide a way to open up creative thought and face the challenges of ﬁnding and sticking to a research topic and methodology.” (Lykke 2014). Feminist studies as an academic field grow in the 1960s while it became famous in the mid-nineteenth and twentieth century, feminist studies have put the foundation of the gender studies that we study today (Järviluoa, Moisala & Vikko 2003).
2:2 Situating myself
“I must be ready to put my word into words, and to offer it to the other” (Levinas 2001).
I agree that situating myself in the text is an important issue, where I can use the intersections in my writings, as in this paper I find the intersectionality as a helpful tool to understand the Arabic culture in a different way.
It is kind of comparison since I compare my position in terms of gender, culture, religion, and identity. “The notion of writing one’s social geography could, of course, easily be applied to any number of identity markers (sexual orientation, class background, able-bodiedness, national belonging)” (Lykke 2014) and that can easily help understanding the different thoughts of people who are located in different areas in the world but they share the same traditions, beliefs, and nationality.
According to Behar, when the writer writes vulnerably the reader response to the text vulnerably (Järviluoma, Moisala & Vikko 2003). From that the voice of the writer is important to reach the readers, thus, writing and situating the self in the text can be successful to reach the readers emotions, I argue that if the writer situate himself and writes with emotions which it can be sad, happy or angry it can affect the reader in different ways, some can read the text and be bored after reading it and others will like the text and be excited to finish it. On the other hand, Sara Heinämaa1993 argued that “It is impossible to position oneself fully: defining a position leads to localizing of the positioning in other words, to endless reflection” (ibid.) And here I agree that the writer cannot put all the voice or emotions in the text, but the writer can transmit some of the emotions to the reader. However, Vikko said in her book that the writer shakes hands with the reader trying to reach the writer understanding and she added that the writer learns new ways of writing through practicing. (Ibid.)
“Being personal in research reporting means striving to intensify the relationship between the researcher and the implied reader who is always constructed during the act of writing” (ibid.) In the coming section I will be writing about the issue of virginity, however, I find it important to situate myself in the text introducing
my own experience and tell a personal example about virginity and show how is it important to the Arabic culture.
I was young just 17 when I got married, I did not know much about traditions, or about the culture. I got married because it was against the law to live with a person and have sex without marriage, I did it, even though my parents were against me, either my cousins, but I wanted to take this step, I wanted to be an independent, adult woman, who by nature felt equal to men. I did not know then what under age marriage is, but I wanted to make my relationship legal where I used to live.
However, I studied the last years of high school in Jordan, where the sexual education does not exist, thus, I did not know what will happen in the big day. I was virgin then, girls must be virgin until the day of their marriage, otherwise it will be shame on the family and because the sentence that was always with me “If you will love someone, your father will kill you in the bathtub” this sentence scared me as many of my friends; mothers scare their daughters so they do not have sex before marriage to keep the honour of their families. How is the honour related to the women bodies? And why only girls? Why do boys do sex outside marriage with women that they call “sharmota” which means a bitch. On the big day, the party ended, the family had traditions, the first was to prepare the room for the bride and the groom, then the bride’s mother should come to help the bride to take shower, and put some lotion on her body to make it smoother. My body was soft then and I was happy because my mother helped me to prepare myself, to the one I thought I love. His relatives were outside the door, I did not know why, even some people were outside the window, in their boudin traditions, that they must wait until they see the blood drops, which comes after losing the virginity. I did not know why do people wait outside, I was shy, I asked him then why the people are outside the window? he said that “they are waiting to prove that I am a man and you are a virgin, and we must prove that tonight”. Confusion. The feeling that there were people outside the window and the door was not comfortable, I felt something different, I do not belong to those, I belong to the free world, where I swim, laugh and enjoy the sun. That was not my home, why do I have to prove to people that my body is pure, that I was virgin, and why were they waiting for? I was afraid, I wanted to run, I did not care about what I thought it was Love, I wanted my body not to be touched in that way, I was young, I was 17.
After a day, I was waving to my mother behind the window, that home windows were high with grating, she waved back, I belong there where my mother was, where the care was but not in this jail, where I had to be raped every minute to find the drops which never came out.
15 2:2:1My Background
My background as I mentioned before is the base of the idea of my thesis, by that, I will situate myself between the lines as an example of true stories. However, my story started when I was born, I was the first child of my parents, who were born and raised up in southern Iraq, my father who was born in an aristocracy family was not religious, but he as his family followed the old traditions. On the other hand, my mother was a religious person, and she was following the old traditions and strictly supported the shame culture. Because of the war, we the family moved to different countries. Because of that, I have been raised in different cultures, in all the countries I have lived in, I have studied in international schools, but, the schools I studied in did not share the Middle Eastern culture that my parents were raised up in. The class level was something I raised up with, learning in international schools was one of them, more than that, me and my family travelled the world for our yearly vacations, we have visited the most expensive hotels in the world, we went to Disneyland and waterfalls, zoos and circus, however, in the middle of the year we used to travel some weeks to buy our clothes from Europe and especially London. However, living in different countries made my personality different from my family, the different cultures which I lived in opened my eyes to different views, I started to think differently, I broke the rules in a gentle way. Because of that, I have become different than the people who share the same nationality and culture, who share the same traditions and believe that those traditions will stay for ever.
Further, at the age of sixteen I came home happy after the interview with the Headmaster of the English international school holding my papers tight on my chest, and my smile on my face, I told my mother then, I am happy, I will study medicine in England and here are all the papers which I need, they accepted me to study in two of their most famous universities. I did not see my mother face happy as all the muscles on my face were, she said in a confident way “you are a girl, and girls do not travel alone” (Mother, 49 years old). I run to my room, I was crying, I saved all the papers that the Headmaster gave me, I thought they could change their mind. However, the papers are still there in our old house, the dust is covering them, and I am still here, in life, not a doctor, but as a girl who lives alone in the Swedish land, fighting for her rights, working and studying at the same time.
During the years of becoming an adult, I always asked myself it is possible to think differently and I speak about my thoughts. I became an adult and I was thinking about the old traditions and how they work and why people still believing in them.
More than that, when I started this program, I was also working in the Commune of the city that I live in, as an integration supervisor to the youth under the age of 18. My work inspired me and pushed me more into my studies, I practiced the theories that we have to learn in my working days, and the positive days, as the negative situations at the work place inspired me to give good examples during my studies
which also showed me the importance of the Gender studies and the feminist thoughts and beliefs. From that, it is important to have employees with gender studies background not only at my work place rather than to spread the knowledge and work for gender equality in different work places in Sweden. More than that, Gender studies opened my eyes to different things one of them is the social class, and the other one is the importance of knowledge.
The last point I want to share in this section is that how did I finally found that angle of my thesis. In reviewing the honour crime thesis in Sweden, and the Middle East, I found that most studies are based on public conversations which include mostly discourse analysis, or document analysis such newspapers articles or on different books on special victims of honour. Intersectional study based on interviews as a data was rare, and female writers who come originally from the Middle East are also very few. From my own knowledge as a Middle Eastern woman, I have chosen to write about honour intersectionality, focusing on the real examples from the Swedish society and how can culture be moved with people to Sweden.
2:3 The Interviews
In the beginning of the last course of the Gender studies intersectionality and change, and I started to write the proposal I wanted to do different interviews than I ended up doing in my Thesis. I wanted to interview the victims, those women who faced problems with honour issues in Sweden, but with the guide of my supervisor, that the student cannot get a permission for interviewing the people under the secret identities, in that case, I got an advice from my supervisor to interview people who help the victim women in different organisations. I started to search and contacted the people I wanted to interview, I asked 15 people but I was lucky to get six to the interviews. During that time, I was planning to ask other people in case someone who would cancel the interview time. I directly started the interviews following the time table, different circumstances delayed some scheduled time.
In the interviews, the same questions were asked to six people, but more questions were asked to those who did not understand the main question. The time of the interviews was a different one from another, the time was between one and a half hour and 30 minutes. Five interviews were done face to face but one was done online via skype.
The questions of the interviews were:
1. Where do you work and what is your position in the organisation? 2. What do you think is the Honour killings?
3. Why it happens?
5. How can women’s bodies affect men’s honour? (An extra question). 6. How Gender matters in honour cases? (An extra question).
For the interviews, I used the qualitative methodology. However, the benefits of using the qualitative research as a method help to find out reality which in that case, “the realism of conventional writing may, therefore, result in 'thin' description. Such arguments, that narratives and descriptions from a single, implicit point of view may not do justice to the complexity of cultural forms, have given rise to various alternative approaches” (Coffey 1996).
According to Roess et.al, “Data analysis was conducted using a visual method oriented to the work of Merleau-Ponty. The focus was on participants’ verbal and bodily expressions based on the analytic conventions of visual methodology.” (Ross et.al 2010)
Moreover, Bowen has pointed that the “Document analysis involves Skimming (superficial examination), reading (thorough examination), and interpretation” (Bowen 2015). From that, after transcribing the six interviews I read carefully the texts, highlighted the main answers to the questions I have asked, aiming to see the similarities and the differences in my analysis.
Analysing the interviews and linking them to the theories will help me to support my work and prove the theories which I have chosen. Answering the research questions from the interview's data will clear out the meaning of the honour and how it is connected to other intersections in Middle Eastern women life.
The interviews as I mentioned before are the data for my thesis. They helped me to open my eyes for different intersections and analysing will help me to understand the connection between those intersections and the meaning of honour. Furthermore, the Skimming reading, which I will be using will help me to find the similarities and differences in the answers. The new themes that I will find in the transcriptions, will add new sections to my study case.
Before I start the process of the interview's analysis, I would like to give more information about the interviews and to which geographic place do they belong to, their location, and that will make it easier to understand from where the interviewees got the information that they are sharing with me in this thesis. In short, the interviewees have different nationalities (Sweden, Africa, Afghanistan, and Lebanon), different religions (Muslims & Christians) and different ethnicities. They are all educated people but their knowledge is different, according to their past locations. Five of the interviewees graduated from Swedish universities, three of them graduated from the Swedish high school while the other two, one is graduated from Africa and one has studied in different countries. However, the first participant did not study in Swedish schools, he was graduated from the Lebanese University in Beirut.
Besides that, the ages of the participants were also different which also helped to give different answers according to their knowledge.
1. Anton: 55 years old, Male.
Anton is originally from Lebanon but has the Swedish citizenship. Anton was born and raised in Lebanon but has a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. He is a project founder and leader of an organization which helps women. He is also a politician, working on the court. Besides that, he is working in a commune in northern Sweden as an integration guide and working with the Red cross. Anton raised up in a traditional family who care about religion, guilt, and shame. On the other hand, he is not religious and does not believe in guilt and shame culture, he is his position supporting the LGBT people and Arabic women who need help. In addition, he was helpful, has a self-confidence and talkative in the interview which was at his home. His interview was recorded and transcribed. What was different in the interviewee with Anton that he speaks from his own experience and problems that he faced in his country, and what caught my attention was how he was fighting for women rights and freedom during the interview.
19 2. Diana: 24 years old, Female.
Diana came originally from Africa, but she lives in Sweden, where she studied and is working now. Diana works as a leader in an Organisation in southern Sweden. She educates the heroes at the organisation and travel to another commune, to educate the social workers and people about honour. Diana was helpful answering all the questions, she came on time on to the interview which was made online. The interview was recorded and transcribed. More than that, Diana is educated in gender issues and supports women in all situations.
3. Mahdi: 32 years old, Male.
Mahdi was born and raised in Afghanistan, but because of the war, he moved with his family to different countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and then to Sweden where he finished his studies and working. He worked in an Organisation as a hero. Just now he is working as a Social secretary specialised in honour issues. During our interview, Mahdi was very nervous, he did not want to record his voice and did not me to write his name. But in the end, we recorded the interview which was in a café. During the interview, I got the feeling that the interviewee was stressed out, and did not feel good while he was talking. After the interview and when I stopped the recording he was talking not as the same way that he was talking when the recording was on. The interview was recorded and transcribed.
4. Anna: 43 years old, Female.
Anna was born and raised in Sweden where she finished her school and she also graduated from a Swedish university. The conversation with her was calm but the examples she gave were sad and painful. Anna is working for the Swedish church in an integration project which helps women in different areas, such as women who are under threat. The interview took place at the church assembly. During the interview, the participant was calm and trying to answer only the questions shortly. The interview took place at the church office and it was recorded and transcribed.
5. Maria: 50 years old, Female.
Maria born, raised and studied in Sweden. She is a priest who leads the integration project and she is also the first leader of an organisation which supports women in northern Sweden. Maria was calm and ready to answer all the questions. She gave me good examples and explained her answers with details. The interview took place at the church office and it was recorded and transcribed.
6. Peter: 38 years old, Male.
Peter born and raised up in a city in the north of Sweden. He was also educated there. He works as a leader in an organisation which is specialised to help LGBT people. He tried to answer all the questions
from his knowledge and work examples. He works in the organisation as a person who help people from different countries and most LGBT people, people who were threatened and has honour related issues. The interview took place at the office of LGBT and it was recorded and transcribed.
2:3:1:1The participants work
The interviewees work in different organisations to support women who have experienced honour violence in Sweden. The participants showed how it is important that women who in order run from their families because of honour related violence, must be invisible in Sweden to protect their selves. First, they must change their names, their personal numbers, they change their phone numbers and delete all their information on the social media and more than that they must not contact their relatives no matter is the reason. The reason of that is to protect them from honour killings.
The interviewee Mahdi said that “The first thing that I do, is to write an action plan, by that I talk to the victim, understand their situation and write the information on the computer. Most of the female who gets honour threaten are between 16 and 25 years old. After that, the first thing we do in the social care, that we delete the phone number, the social media such as Facebook for example” (Mahdi 32).
From that the social care in Sweden helps the victims of honour violence first to delete all their online information, and they help them by setting a plan for their new life.
2:3:1:2 The participant’s emotions
I find it important to write about my experience with the participants and how was their emotions during the interview.
At the begging of each interview, the participants were mostly calm, except Mahdi who was stressed from the beginning of his interview. Mahdi changed the interview time three times, he found it difficult to talk about his work and especially about honour. When we came to the examples, Mahdi was sad telling me the story of his friend who was killed by a group of Arabic Iraqi guys, those guys are brothers and cousins to the victim’s girlfriend. Mahdi felt uncomfortable she could not sit still. He also asked me twice when we will finish the interview. After the interview which was recorded, Mahdi left the cafe directly.
On the other hand, the other participants were calm answering the questions. While telling the stories of honour, the participants were sad while saying the stories and how the crimes happened. Anton, who is Swede was surprised while talking, and he did not really know why the honour crimes happens and, he said at the end of his interview “It is horrible, horrible!” when I asked Anna “How can they do that for their daughter?” she answered me showing me her arm “I do not know! Look!”, she showed me the
goose bumps on her skin. The participants were emotional while speaking about the girls and sad while they were describing the crimes.
Nevertheless, Maria was talking with a self-confidence, she was explaining to me how she understands the honour phenomena and how the difference in cultures plays a big role. Turning to the examples, Maria was sad, telling me Pella´s story and the girls who got killed in the same city that she works in. But, she was happy to tell me how she was succeeded to help a woman and her daughters who run away from the honour.
2:3:2 The process of the interviews
After choosing the interviewees who are working the same positions but in different organisations, I decided to interview them individually. Each interviewee is (A hero) who is working in an organisation to help women and youth girls who are facing honour violence. In addition, the interviewees have pseudonyms names for their safety.
During the interviews, the participants were answering the questions, some of them were talking more than the others giving examples and going in depth with the conversation, that shows the difference of knowledge. More than that, one of the participants was very nervous while answering the questions and from the beginning, he did not want me to record the conversation, he also left quickly after the last question. While three of participants were engaging in the conversation, telling me examples and explain their thoughts, on the other hand, there were two participants who were answering only the questions without giving me any examples, thus, I asked them more questions which helped to carry the conversation on.
2:3:3 Analytical process
Using the Document analysis as a tool for the interviews helped me to understand the answers from a different point of view. Skimming reading as a primary tool helped me to focus on the data and pick the information I needed very easily, I also have used different pen colours to mark out the same answers for the themes of the analysis. Besides, “Qualitative analysis is often started by analysing and counting the distribution of answers question by question.” (Talja 1999). From that, I started analysing the answers of the participants, by analysing the qualitative data I found the answers were “equally clearly a reaction to the contextualization of the questions” (Talja 1999). It was tricky to answer the first and the second questions, what is honour and what do you know about it? The answers of the interviewees were different. Even though both questions were short and direct but more than two interviewees reacted when I asked the questions. They were surprised by the first question, more than that, I have explained the interview purpose and gave a brief summary of my thesis and studies before each interview. The
analytical tools for the interview were helpful to make my work done. In addition, the answers to the research questions will be used as themes where I have collected them from the interviews. The Thematic analysis in this qualitative research will be used to answering research questions. According to Braun and Clarke, the hematic analysis is a flexible and useful method for “identifying, analysing, and reporting patterns (themes) within data” (Braun and Clarke 2006: 79). Each theme has the data which is related to one research question. More than that, dividing the analysis into themes helps to structure the answers to the research questions. That structure will make the results more obvious to the reader in an organized, detailed way.
2:3:4 Sharing knowledge
All interviewees support victim women and disagree with the honour traditions. According to Edyta: “production of knowledge rather than just meaning, through discourse rather than just language”, and she added that we see the “discourse as a system of representation”. (Edyta 2016) From that, all the participants were sharing what they know about honour, their discourse which was discussing the guilt, and the shame culture, they all shared what they know and what they have experienced. More than that, they all shared examples which happened in Sweden, and they all agreed that honour issues must be known more in the Swedish society. From that the discourse analysis could be useful to understand the meaning of honour through the discourse of the interviews.
More than that, Cervone & Parvin agreed that “Each culture has its own institutionalized and sanctioned patterns of learned behaviours, rituals, and beliefs” (Cervone & Parvin 2010). In line with that, the participants, shared examples from their cultures, explaining how the people in their cultures behave, to exemplify, Anton said “At home in my country, when I used to do things which were out of my family traditions, my mother used to say “what shall the people say about us? What should our neighbors say?” In Lebanon, I wanted to be a dancer, but being a dancer is a shame in my culture” (Anton 55 years old). The utterance “what shall the people say about us?” means that Anton’s mother, does not want the people who share the same culture gossip about her son. From that I understood that, being a dancer is not acceptable in some families in the Lebanese culture, where the gossip could make serious problems.
Ethics are important for me personally, my research and for the interviewees as well. The topic of my thesis is a sensitive topic which is private, stressful. At the beginning of my thesis process, I initially thought about interviewing women who live in Sweden and who have run away from honour violence. But because of the nature of the topic of honour, and the ethical implications, victims cannot be
interviewed because of their personal safety. After that, I decided to interview people who work with the victims.
Further, the interview discussions brought for me emotional moments. The subject became part of my daily routines, I was discussing it with different people in different occasions. I also stopped myself to talk about honour subject in separate times. It is also scary to think that such crimes exist generally in the world and especially in Sweden where people find peace and follow the law. I could not manage to stop myself to think about the honour cases, my curiosity took me to the Middle East, to Amman, I visited the places of the crimes and felt how easy it is for some people to kill their relatives, daughters, sisters or cousins in the name of honour. I was in a taxi when I passed from the first place where a woman was killed, it was outside a hospital; I said to the driver, here a crime happened before two months, did you hear about it? He said yes, she deserved it! I was swallowing my tears, I could not speak, I was angry, I felt like I could not breath.
The next day on my way to the Swedish embassy in Amman, I passed from an empty house, they call it “the devils house”, I asked the driver about it and why it is empty, he said “here, the homosexual people used to meet; they prayed for the devil and they were naked when the police caught them, why do the European ways exist in our Muslim society? If you saw them, you would be afraid, young women love each other, men also, it was terrible”. The conversation ended when I arrived at the Swedish embassy, where I took a deep breath, I felt something heavy on my shoulders, I saw then the Swedish Dala red horse on the table, with some papers which was saying “Gender Equality in the Swedish society” I was smiling, but the tears still in my eyes, a strange feeling was then, when I was telling the Swedish officer, and my tears were falling down like the rain on my face; there is no need to stay here, I want to go back home tonight, I want to be safe.
It was hard to talk to people about homosexuality, virginity and outside marriage relationships without commenting or saying what I believe in, I listened to people, to their stories and what I found that the gender equality needs years to exist in Jordan, it is a hard way but the change must come in one day if the people fight for it.
Because of the topic's sensitivity and to avoid the risk, the names of the interviewees and the names of the organisations are anonymous. Moreover, the interview examples which were taken from real stories are intense. The interviewees were informed about the thesis subject, the university which the research will be published and that the conversation will be a data for this thesis. They all agreed to do the interviews and they would like to read the thesis. More than that the interviewees have the right to read the transcription and the thesis when it is finished. (Letherby 2005)
The British sociologist Letherby asked in her book Feminist research in theory and practice, “what if no one comes forward, or if those who do all wish to drop out halfway through a project? Because of this, when respondents do come forward” (Letherby 2005:102). In the beginning of the interviews planning, I was sure that the people I have chosen are the right people to keep time, promises and they want to talk about their job. On the other hand, and following Letherby I chose to do individual interviews. I chose, in that case, individuals both men and women who work with honour related cases, telling the stories they know but I was not prepared to hear very sensitive stories which shocked me during the interviews.
According to Letherby, feminist research can be done with friends, family members and colleagues, but I preferred to do the interviews with people I know but one, to keep the distance and make the conversation more formal.
Furthermore, the “Space and place are also important in research terms. When doing research on emotive or sensitive issues, respondents may or may not feel more comfortable when the research takes place in their own home, workplace, social club etc., and it may be important to offer an alternative venue” (Letherby 2005). Space is an important issue to think about before the interview, in my interviews I asked first the interviewees where they wish to do the interviews, I wanted them to be comfortable, relaxed answering my questions. Feeling relaxed during the conversation is also important, to get good answers.
3 Feminist research perspectives on honour related violence
In this chapter, first I will discuss the meaning of the honour, following the intersections of honour which they are important to understand the meaning of honour and why it happens. Every culture has its traditions, beliefs, and ways that the people follow, but does the Middle Eastern culture and old traditions help to explain what is “honour”? Do the intersections of honour the answer of why honour crimes happen? That what I will discuss in the following sections.
In this section, I am going to give a brief introduction of the meaning of the word “honour”, in the coming sections, the meaning of honour will be deeply understood through its intersections and the analysis of the material.
What is honour? Finding the meaning of the word honour can be easy but to define what is the honour crimes it needs more explanation. Searching in the lexicon for the noun Honour can give a lot of synonyms like integrity, moral, nobility and honesty. The meaning of honour in Europe can be understood as a positive action. Wikan has explained honour as, “honour has a ring of heroism and nobility” it goes back to the history where men share morality, however, the moral issue is gendered in Europe as is it in the Middle East, and in both regions, honour “depended to a large extent on the sexual behaviour of women” (Wikan 2008).
While searching in google can give very different results from the lexicon. When you search the word honour in google you will get many different suggestions, like articles, videos and books, but they are all connected to the honour crimes. However, the word Honour in my mother language is called Sharaf, and that is connected to the body and sexuality. The opposite word to the word Sharaf in Arabic is “adem Sharaf” which is an insulting word, which it can be used to the person who lost his honour. Thus, I aim to understand the meaning of the honour phenomena through the interviews questions, the data I am collecting and through the intersections which I choose to focus on.
Furthermore, Shame is connected to honour like the relationship between men and women. “Unni Wikan (2004) discusses honour in an honour cultures having to do with male attributes. Wikan argues that the man possesses honour, whilst the woman has no honour, only shame. Therefore, it is men´s responsibility to manage and protect the family honour as it is presented to the outside world” They also gave some examples of behavioral actions “that it could challenge a man´s honour in the family include having sexual relations outside of marriage, being unfaithful, refusing to partake in an arraigned marriage or inappropriately flirting with an unfamiliar man” (Darvishpour & Lahdenperä 2017).
In 2000, the Jordanian journalist Rana Hosseini got the prize from the human rights watch. The feminist activist Hosseini got the prize for her work against the honour violence. In December 2014 Hosseini
visited Stockholm and spoke at the International Conference on Combating Patriarchal Violence against women. In her speech which was “Focusing on Violence in the Name of Honour”, Hosseini said: “Honor in the context of these crimes implies the honor of a man, and by extension the family, who feels his own and his family's reputation was disgraced by the behaviour of his sister, daughter, wife or mother”. Husseini also added: “The man chosen by the family to carry out the murder brutally ends his female relative's life to cleanse the family of the “shame” she brought upon the family or tribe” (Husseini 2006). In the same way, Darvishpour & Lahdenperä explained honour as “the man’s responsibility to manage and protect the family’s honour as it is presented to the outside world. However, men’s honour is also closely linked to the females’ expected sexual virtue” (Darvishpour & Lahdenperä 2017).
Further, Honour in the history is related to some old cultures, thus, to explain the meaning of honour it is important to understand the culture that the honour came from and why it is important to some groups. “The concepts of honour culture and honour violence were established in relation to a number of tragic murders that took place between 1996 and 2002 in Sweden” (Darvishpour & Lahdenperä 2017).
Female in Jordan for example, fear of losing their virginity, some girls at schools, skip the PE lectures, where they jump, run and train with different sports equipment. If the girls lose their hymen during non-sexual causes such as: “Vaginal intercourse, falling on a protruding object, horse riding, riding bicycles and swings, high jumps, masturbation where objects are inserted in the vagina, gynaecological examinations, using vaginal douches, and using high-pressure water hoses for personal hygiene” then they have the right to do a hymen reconstruction surgery. (Muawwad, 2009a). The hymen as a symbol of virginity is important for every single young woman in Jordan. Losing virginity in sexual causes can bring honour related violence but if the cause is proved by the medical doctors as a non-sexual cause, the female can do the surgery which will protect her honour in the future.
Mahadeen, in her academic journal mentioned that the virginity is “medicalised” in the Jordanian media, information about the different types of hymen and the causes of its loss is also provided. The Jordanian media use the medical and the religious authorities to support their information, by that people believe in the information that they hear. (Mahadeen 2013). In addition, because Jordan, “the country most intensely under the international spotlight when issue of crime of honour are discussed” female in Jordan fear to lose their virginity. The crimes in Jordan “are committed by male family member against female relative” (Welchman& Hossain 2005). The British Kurd Nazand Begikhani, a researcher, and a human right advocate, has said: “It is interesting to observe how in such contexts, honour has nothing to do with virtue and honesty, but is firmly linked to proper behaviour by the women” (Wikan 2008).
Moreover, this summary of what does honour mean is the primary definition in this thesis, thus, the intersections section will go in depth explain the meaning of honour and the section of the shame and guilt culture will explain more the reasons which cause to practising honour.
Is the honour connected to shame? Does gender matter in it? Does the honour have intersections? What is the reasons that cause to honour killings? The answers of the questions above will be answered in the coming sections and will be more clarified in the conclusion part.
3:1 The intersections of honour
In this section, I attempt to outline the intersections between gender, sexuality, and honour through themes such as outside marriage relations, rape, virginity, and homosexuality. I will also provide an overview of previous research and key discussions in the field.
3:1:1 Outside marriage Relations
You brought the shame to our family, we will take your life, you are guilty you are a whore. She was screaming before they took her away to the room, her brothers decided to put her inside a dark room, they left her without electricity, without food or water, they left her to die to hide their shame. Selma was pregnant from her boyfriend who was killed by her brothers. Selma run away, her grandmother helped her to escape. Selma was a victim of honour but she got her freedom.
To have a relationship outside marriage is not acceptable in Islam, thus, relationships should be a marriage to be legal in Middle Eastern society.
The Muslims follow the Quran and the prophet Mohammed, who in their beliefs got the Quran as a gift from the God. All the sentences which were said by the prophet of Islam were written and collected in Bukari book “Sahih al-Bukhari is a collection of hadith compiled by Imam Muhammad al-Bukhari (d. 256 AH/870 AD) (rahimahullah).” (Al Sunna) However, prophet Mohamed said as it is written in Bukari book:
“A man must never be alone with a woman unless there is a Mahram with her” and he added, “Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan” (Al Sunna).
From the sentence above that women are not allowed to be alone with men that do not relate to them, the word “mohram” means that the woman’s father, uncle, brother, husband or her son can be alone with her by the sharia law. The sentences above, are sayings which are used in the daily conversations, it can be an advice from the family or friends and this is what they teach kids at schools. Indeed, I was as all
my class listing to those sentences at school, but why we were taught that? Is it about power? is it about sexuality? Or to control female minds at the early age?
Furthermore, on 21 January 2002, Fadime Sahindal was killed in Uppsala, Sweden by her father in the name of honour. The reasons for the murder were that, she was in a relationship with a Swedish man, and the other reason was that Fadime spoke in public about her story, that leads that she brought the shame to her family. Being in a relationship outside marriage itself is a problem in the middle eastern old traditions. Women in Islam must get married before moving with their husbands. Fadime Sahindal who had a secret identity she also was in a secret relationship with her Swedish boyfriend. Her father found about her relationship, then he arranged a marriage in Turkey for her, which she rejected. After that, she ran away to Sundsvall. Fadime said when I became a teenager, my parents wanted me to travel to Turkey and get married to one of my cousins. (Fadime Sahindal 2001) However, getting married to a cousin is a tradition in some countries like Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. Some families plan and decide their daughter’s partners at an early age. Further, Fadime spoke her story in 2001 in a seminar on the violence against women network, she also spoke in the parliament and the reason of that she was afraid of her family and she wanted to open the people´s eyes on the term “Honour”, which was not known then in the Swedish society. (The Seattle times 2002)
Fadime was one of the victims who was killed because of honour, and there is a lot of girls who even are afraid to live their life with their choices with the fear of honour.
According to Husseini: “Often evidence of a crime is not necessary – gossip and rumour are enough condemnation for the victim.” (Husseini, Rana 2006). From that, in honour crimes, it is not necessary to see the victim being with a person outside marriage. For example, what the people in that society say is enough to believe that the victim was guilty. Example on that, many women in Iran, were stoned by their first relatives to death because of the honour. In Iran as in other Middle Easters countries “Stoning breeches the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (1966), to which Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and the Sudan are party signatories, amongst others.” (Kar 2011)
Furthermore, another victim of honour was stoned by her father and two sons, in Iran. Sorya M. was a victim of the gossip of her village. People at her village said that she had an affair with a person, her husband and the Imam of the village decided that a love affair, in that case, an affair can cause honour killing. In her society, where the men are very powerful, they can judge and punish women. Acting independently can cause women their life in some countries in the Middle East, thus, Middle Eastern men control women through force and the by limiting their individual liberties, their actions and their
way of thinking. “The cultural and/or national identity of the men must express itself in control of the women” (Wikan 2008).
Soraya M. was judged, to be stoned to death in the public in Iran. She was stoned by her two sons, husband, father and men from her village. Gossips can also be dangerous to women’s life in such societies where the honour plays a big role as in Soraya’s case. Further, “as such, stoning violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and security of person without distinction of any kind, including sex” it is also “undeniably one of the most grave human rights abuses, one that should not be overlooked by the international community” (Kar 2011).
Losing virginity before marriage is forbidden in Islam. Islam forbids relations outside marriage. Many girls who were Muslims, were killed because of their virginity, in some cases, and after checking the girl’s body after her death, they find out that she was a virgin. Because of that and now in the Arabic Middle Eastern countries, it became possible to make a virginity test for girls, and if the girl is not virgin that means that her family lose their honour and according to the Arabic old traditions, the girl becomes zanya which means adulteress, and this word comes from Zina which is illegal relationship which is not confirmed by the sharia law. By that, her family can kill her because of their honour. In the book Honour crimes, paradigms, and violence against women, in the chapter culture, national and state, Sliman says: working against the `crime of family honour` within the Palestinian community in Israel, in the first example of her chapter, a girl was killed by her brother, who said that he was defended the family honour. However, “before two days of the killing the girl was taken to the hospital by her father” to make the virginity
test. The doctor refused making the test without a permeation from the police. The family suspected that the girl had a relationship with a guy in her village. The second day the girl was killed. It is not the only case of honour because of virginity in Palestine but “there are approximately ten cases a year” (Welchman & Hossain 2005).On line with that, Nawal Al Sadawi mentioned in her conference in Egypt 2015, a story of a girl who visited her Clinique to do the virginity test, she said that “the girl was shaking, she was afraid when she entered with her father to my room, the father had a gun in his holster, holding his daughter from her shoulders, and asked me to do a virginity test for her, and he said that her life depends on that test” (Al Sadawi 2015). Virginity means a lot to the Arabic families, it is their honour, as honour is based on sexuality. Women in the Middle East are afraid to lose their virginity before marriage, some girls stop to exercise or ride a bicycle fearing to lose their virginity. Arabic families and schools teach the girls at an early age religion, and the sharia law which in its position forbid relations. Family and tribe law can judge the female if they lose their virginity. The tribe law can be above the law